Monday, November 28, 2016

French Think Tank Hosts Trump's Son to Talk Syria

Donald Trump and his sons have been quietly embracing think tanks both in the US and overseas as they work to beef up their foreign and domestic policy credentials.  Here is the latest example from The Wall Street Journal:
Donald Trump’s eldest son, emerging as a potential envoy for the president-elect, held private discussions with diplomats, businessmen and politicians in Paris last month that focused in part on finding a way to cooperate with Russia to end the war in Syria, according to people who took part in the meetings.
Thirty people, including Donald Trump Jr., attended the Oct. 11 event at the Ritz Paris, which was hosted by a French think tank. The founder of the think tank, Fabien Baussart, and his wife, Randa Kassis, have worked closely with Russia to try to end the conflict.  Ms. Kassis, who was born in Syria, is a leader of a Syrian group endorsed by the Kremlin.
Mr. Baussart’s think tank, the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs, has hosted a number of current and former government officials and leaders of multilateral organizations, according to its website.
Those meetings have included Turkey’s former president, Abdullah Gul; former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and James Rubin, a one-time State Department spokesman who advised Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Here is a link to the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs (CPFA), which is based in Paris, France.  Others who have attended the think tank's events in the past include Al Gore, Bob Woodward, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Donald Rumsfeld, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) President Richard Haass, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) President John Hamre, and Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott.

As Think Tank Watch noted last week, the lobbyist purge from Mr. Trump's transition team has allowed think tankers to gain a stronger foothold into the Trump team.

By the way, did anyone else notice that acronym for the think tank CPFA is an anagram of FCPA - the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (a US law against foreign bribery)?